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Community Assets

Volume 725: debated on Wednesday 11 January 2023

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Scottish communities have benefited from the UK Government’s £150-million community ownership fund, which is a key pillar in our levelling-up agenda. To date, more than £2 million has been invested in 10 projects across Scotland through the fund, including more than £200,000 to restore the not-for-profit community-run Old Forge pub on the Knoydart peninsula, and £250,000 in Perth and Kinross’s Rannoch hub to provide the historical building with new business and leisure facilities for the local community.

As it is 11 January, I wish everyone in Burghead a happy Clavie. In a historical tradition dating back to the 1750s, tonight, as his predecessors did, Clavie king Dan Ralph and his crew will carry a barrel of burning tar and oil through the streets up to Doorie hill to welcome in the new year. It is an incredible sight and I wish everyone well tonight. The Minister mentioned levelling up. He will know that Moray Council has submitted an ambitious bid that will see jobs and investment in Elgin and across Moray. Can he give us an update on that bid?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for highlighting the activities taking place in Burghead tonight, and I wish Dan Ralph and his team well in the Clavie this evening. I welcome Moray Council’s engagement with the levelling-up programme. As he will know, the levelling-up fund invests in infrastructure that improves everyday lives across the United Kingdom. To date, eight Scottish projects have been successfully funded to a value of more than £171 million. The United Kingdom Government will shortly make an announcement on the successful bids from round 2 of the levelling-up fund, and I look forward to seeing more successful Scottish bids as part of that announcement.

Can I ask the deputy assistant junior viceroy to be honest at the Dispatch Box that Scotland is being short-changed as a result of being dragged out of the European Union? We used to benefit from much more regional development money, rather than the poxy pork barrel politics of levelling-up money.

I am disappointed that the hon. Member does not welcome the Government’s additional investment into communities across Scotland. We are making decisions based on real devolution and supporting local councils across Scotland by investing in local communities, while the Scottish Government increasingly take more powers away from local councils.